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I have an opportunity to get spaghetti string tank tops that are 80/20 nylon/spandex for $1 a piece. Nice material. What is the best way to screen print on these?

What type of transfer would I need to order? We currently outsource our designs to transfer express and heat press them ourselves.

I read a couple of topics that sublimation with a stretch additive?
 

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I'm doing 95% cotton/ 5% spandex ladies tanks this year on my site. I'm using a stretch ink - Soymax from One Stroke.

Just screen print as normal. But you need something stretchy inkwise because even at 5% spandex they stretch like a mofo. I guess you could use an additive. Not sure what temps you need to cure something that is 20% spandex though, but it might be lower so they don't shrink like crazy. So you might need to take that into account as well when it comes to the ink and under the flash and in the dryer. Not only might you need to lower temps on the dryers, but you may also need an ink that cures at a lower temp.

Smaller platens may be needed as well if they stretch A LOT, and shrink down to really, really tiny when they are not being worn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm doing 95% cotton/ 5% spandex ladies tanks this year on my site. I'm using a stretch ink - Soymax from One Stroke.

Just screen print as normal. But you need something stretchy inkwise because even at 5% spandex they stretch like a mofo. I guess you could use an additive. Not sure what temps you need to cure something that is 20% spandex though, but it might be lower so they don't shrink like crazy. So you might need to take that into account as well when it comes to the ink and under the flash and in the dryer. Not only might you need to lower temps on the dryers, but you may also need an ink that cures at a lower temp.

Smaller platens may be needed as well if they stretch A LOT, and shrink down to really, really tiny when they are not being worn.
With that said, can my designs be outsourced so I am able to press them myself? I'd hate to pass up these tanks that cheap.
 

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I don't heatpress and don't even own one. I have no use for one. I screen print everything in my own shop. It's just not part of my business model. Doesn't seem like you would have to do anything different though if the ink is correct. But you do need to watch for extreme shrinkage on the tanks because of the spandex. I can still run a tank through the dryer with some spandex in it and it doesn't shrink too much. BUT my tanks are only 5% spandex. The main concern with printing on spandex that stretches though is an ink that will stretch with it without looking too deformed and/or cracking.

I guess if you are sending designs in to someone who is screen printing transfers for you, then I don't see why you couldn't press them yourself?

You would just need to let the printer know the application called for and that you need an ink that will work with a cotton/spandex blend. Last thing you want is an ink that can't stretch enough and will crack. Or deforms like crazy when it is worn.

Somebody more versed in heat pressing may come along and give you better info on that part of it though. I can mainly speak to the ink being used and the need to watch out for them shrinking like crazy if they get too hot.
 
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